On Friday, October 2, 2009, Leesville Road High School hosted the biannual Red Cross blood drive, where 100 people wereregistered to donate a total of 100 pints of blood. The goal is to help the Red Cross’ mission to meet the perpetual demand for blood throughout North Carolina.
North Carolina does not stand alone in the high demand for blood donation. Early this August, the Red Cross issued a nationwide plea for blood donors, imploring people to give blood soon in the face of America’s critical drop in blood supply. Many people don’t know that each year, 20% of the country’s blood supply comes from high school and college students, accounting for 40% of the nation’s blood bank.
Blood donors can give approximately one pint of blood during donation which can save up to 3 lives. The process is far simpler than people tend to realize. At the drive, the donor takes a brief, confidential medical history exam and undergoes a mini-physical to determine whether the giver is eligible to give blood. Unfortunately, there are cases where people have volunteered to give blood, only to find themselves ineligible to donate. However, if the individual is able to donate, the actual blood donation routinely takes 10 to 12 minutes, after which the donor is rewarded with free refreshments before the student should return to class.
The blood drive, while not a community program, is open to faculty and students 16 years old and older. However, because of this year’s newly instated weight and height requirements, certain blood drive supervisors believe that attendance to future drives will be negatively impacted.
“The requirements will probably have a greater impact on the girls than the boys,” said Tonya Eastman, one staff member in charge of the drive, “which means less of a turnout, so more people need to step up.”
Last spring, Leesville experienced the largest drive yet, accumulating 98 units of blood in a single drive, though falling short of East Wake’s record of 150 units of blood that same spring.
“Many students don’t realize we’re competing with other schools,” said Eastman, “which I think is just another reason why more Leesville students should try to donate.”
In an effort to keep the donations local, the donated blood will be distributed within the Triangle Area and possibly other cities within Wake County. With an estimated county population of over 860,000 people, every drop of blood Leesville manages to gather is essential.
Leesville has made a commitment with the Red Cross to play an admirable part in remedying a very serious blood shortage. Yet while the school record set last year remains a source of pride, it also stands as a reminder of how much more Leesville is capable of giving. Twice a year, students have the chance to aid in the school’s endeavor and at least, try to donate. Last year, the school set the bar for blood donation the highest it has ever been. Fortunately, with the help of more students who are willing to contribute, Leesville’s future blood drives promise to garner even better results.